Good evening everyone. This week's Wanderings focus on Matthew 20:1-16, perhaps Jesus' most upsetting parables/teachings. Every single reference I used for my sermon uses words like how it leaves a person "slack jawed," its "unsettling", "offensive", "calculated to offend", "the story makes us angry."
If you do not know this scripture, go grab your Bible and look it up. Take your time, I'll be right here waiting.
....Did you get a chance to read it? What is your reaction?
let me ask another question: which group of laborers do you see yourself as fitting into? It's fair to say most people see themselves as part of the first group, it's only human nature. But it takes some pretty big hubris to assume we are the first or even second group. No one wants to believe they could possibly be part of the last group.
But let's say you are part of the first group. And perhaps you feel its unfair that the last group gets the same wage, after all, you worked more.
But I invite you to reread the scripture again.
Why weren't the second and third group working to begin with? And those idle people who were hired at the last hour, why were they not working? Look at the words they use "Because no one has hired us."
let me ask you this: if you are a day worker, who only gets to eat and feed your family if you are hired out that day, which would be harder: to spend all day working in the cool morning, hot afternoon and cool evening, or standing around the marketplace, during the cool of the morning, hot afternoon and cool evening, wondering if you will be hired/able to eat/feed your family, watching and knowing that with each passing hour the likelihood is less and less likely?
Have you ever played a sport in school? have you ever been picked last for a team? who has it harder, the person picked first or the person chosen last?
This scripture is an upsetting one: it turns over what we have come to understand as fair and right, just and appropriate, and makes us have to rethink about the radical freeness of God, and the amazing grace God bestows on everyone.
But this scripture is also a cause for joy, as it teaches us that we are all worthy of grace, and of receiving that grace, regardless if we were deemed the fittest workers to work all day, or were the ones who no one wanted to hire, wondering what our outcome will be.
May God and God's grace bless you all this week and weekend.
Peace, Pastor G